The Road to The Nationals Dota 2 league started with the Manila qualifier back at the beginning of August. Unlike the rest of the already concluded qualifiers, two teams from the Manila leg advanced to the Road to The Nationals grand finals, to be held at the 2018 Esports and Gaming Summit at the end of October. One of the teams that advanced from the Manila qualifiers was Sterling Global Dragons, a relatively new organization that was formed just last November.
Before securing one of the two finalist spots at the Manila qualifier, Sterling Global Dragons has seen quite a number of roster changes since the team’s formation. The current squad consists of Shanks (Support/Captain), Tino (Carry), Nasjo (Mid), Luciano (Offlane), and Jau (Support). While the current roster is quite new, some of the players already have some experience behind them with Tino, Shanks, and Luciano previously playing for QPP and Pacific.
The team, backed by rapper Flict-G and the Sterling Global Call Center, is one of the more formal squads in the tournament. The squad was formed through various tryouts and has daily practice sessions involving both scrimmages with other SEA teams along with public matches. While the team is based in Manila, its members don’t exclusively come from the metro as two of their members are from Bulacan and Pampanga, respectively.
Going into the Road to The Nationals qualifier, the team stuck to their usual training and practice routines as they had no knowledge as to who they were going to face. As they didn’t know who else would be competing at the qualifiers, their plan was to simply play their game and have fun. While the team didn’t give themselves much pressure for the qualifiers, they were admittedly excited for it as they believed it would be a great opportunity for their relatively young team.
According the team’s analyst and manager, Ciiyan, the squad’s biggest strength is their chemistry, attitude, and discipline. Jau and Tino have been with the team since its inception while the rest of the squad have played together in two previous teams. The team also doesn’t see themselves as strong just yet but they do have the drive to improve, something that is seen with the squad’s daily practice and training routine.
While the team waits for the rest of the finalists for the Road to The Nationals to be decided, the team plans to stick to their daily practice and training routine, which includes three best-of-two scrimmages a day, public games before and after, and team discussions after every scrim. The team is also in search for a new coach to not only help them prepare for the finals of the Road to The Nationals but also for future tournaments.
Once all the finalists have been decided, the squad plans to prepare and focus their strategies and gameplay towards the teams they know they’ll end up playing against. According to team captain Shanks, the teams from the other parts of the country will be more unpredictable due to the lack of public information on them. But Ciiyan also added that teams, regardless of where they’re from, will just stick to the current meta and use their comfort heroes.
With only four more teams left to be decided for the Road to The Nationals finals, Sterling Global Dragons won’t have to wait too long before they need to really start preparing for the big event. Two more qualifiers are set to be held this month, in Iloilo and Bacolod City, respectively, while the final qualifier will be held in Cavite sometime in early October.